Florida Parks: The Best Way to Explore the Florida Keys

Lots of visitors to the Florida Keys rave about the food, the nightlife, and the welcoming atmosphere, but the best way to experience the Keys is through Florida’s state and national parks. These are some of the most beautiful and unique public lands in the continental U.S. People travel the world over to swim, snorkel, and fish here. Read on to find out why.

Bahia Honda State Park

Located on Bahia Honda Key north of Key West, this park is best known for two of its beaches. In fact, you might even recognize them from photos. One’s on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island and one’s on the Florida Bay side of the island. Beach equipment rental is easy at the island concession stand, which also offers food service and a small gift shop. Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing, biking, as well as birdwatching. You can pitch a tent or park your RV in designated areas, with reservations; marina slips are also offered for overnight docking. No trip to Bahia Honda State Park would be complete without snorkeling – reserve your spot on the snorkeling tour of Looe Key Marine Sanctuary in advance by phone or online.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Get a real feel for American history while enjoying some great outdoor activities at this landmark fort on the southern part of Key West. Tours of Fort Zachary Taylor are offered every day. Learn more about how American troops served during the Civil War and the Spanish American War by walking the same paths, looking through the same gun ports, and watching re-enactors bring history to life. Nature trails offer hiking and scenic views; bring a bike for the bike trails. Swimming at the sandy beach here is popular; you can also rent umbrellas, beach chairs, and snorkeling gear. The picnic areas here have grills, so consider stopping by a grocery store for supplies on your way in; if you’d rather let someone else do the cooking, visit the park’s cafe for light refreshments in the shade. If you have a fishing license, there are also designated fishing spots here.

Biscayne National Park

Another of the Florida Keys’ parks with expansive underwater acreage, this one is located at the northernmost part of the Keys. Initially created to preserve the last of the undeveloped Keys, today, tourism is the primary draw. See the best of Biscayne National Park on a guided tour from the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. View some of the historic shipwrecks that are part of the Maritime Heritage Trail and the colorful marine life that’s grown up around them. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent, and guests can take a self-paced tour around the key, exploring mangrove-sheltered shallows. The park’s shorelines are home to wading birds and shore birds, as well as dolphins and turtles, so be sure to pack binoculars. Don’t miss Jones Lagoon and Hurricane Creek. Feeling adventurous? You can camp at Biscayne National Park, too, at Boca Chita and Elliott Key. These campsites are pack in/pack out, and offer trails and swimming; however, the amenities are pretty basic. And be sure to try the fishing here. The area is especially well-known for bonefish, grouper, tarpon, and spiny lobster. Seize the Day Charters  can ensure any required licensing is in place for a relaxing trip.

Florida’s state and national parks offer visitors a unique and up-close look at the Sunshine State’s natural beauty. From snorkeling and diving to fishing, birdwatching, kayaking, and more, it’s easy to immerse yourself among the plants and animals that make the Florida Keys such a special place to visit in these parks.

 

3 must-visit driving destinations in Australia

australia-beach-cliff-673195.jpg

Photo credits

You can hear all sorts of references about Australia’s undeniable beauty on the internet and top travel magazines. No wonder more than 8.8 million people flew from different parts of the world to this famed holiday destination in 2017.

From Cable beach to Byron Bay, you can expect nothing but clear waters and perfect waves for surfing enthusiasts. Indeed, one of the country’s best attractions is its coastline. What makes it perfect is that you can travel by land to enjoy incredible landscapes and it doesn’t have to be a rugged road trip at all.

You wouldn’t want to miss any of the places you can go to in this amazing country. The best way to do that is with a car hire service.

A drive through Australia

The best way to explore Australia is going for a drive from key cities. From these starting points, you can drive off and explore some of the best places around. To help you get started, here’s a quick guide on the places you can visit during your stay. Pack your bags, prep your car, and let’s go!

From Perth to the Margaret River

If you’re a lover of wine, then a visit to the Margaret River is just right up your alley. There are more than a hundred wineries in this small town, giving you the perfect opportunity for a wine tasting weekend with your buddies. Some of the wineries you should visit along the way include:

  • Brookwood Estate. Established in 1996, visitors are treated to a panoramic vineyard view along with unique single vineyard wines. Brookwood Estate is a family-owned business hailing from the pioneer farmers of the region. Wine tastings are available daily from 11am to 4.30pm.
  • Cullen Wines and Restaurant. Toast to an unforgettable holiday in a panoramic view of Cullen Wines and Restaurant’s historic vineyard. Apart from tasting one of the best wines in the region, you can also eat to your heart’s content in their restaurant.

If you are not into wine tasting, there are many activities you can also try. Spending time with nature is one of them.

  • Fishing and boating. If you want to get away from the noise, then boating and fishing are perfect for you. The Margaret River offers fishing tours that will take you out to catch some fish and crabs. If you’re lucky, you might even end up snagging a West Australian Dhufish! There are also boating tours specifically for sightseeing.
  • Rock climbing, high ropes, and zip lining. Everyone needs a good challenge every now and then. The Margaret River is the perfect destination if you want to try something new and physical. There are high ropes, rock climbing and zip lining adventures waiting for you to try.
  • Mountain biking and road cycling are both popular sports in Australia. If you’re on the fence about steering your bike, then you should know that the Margaret River has a mountain bike trails for you to try.

From: Gold Coast to Byron Bay

Gifted with pristine natural beaches, it’s no wonder that surfing is a favourite sport in Australia. There are over 2.5 million recreational surfers in the country and there is no shortage of waves for each one of them.

One of the famous road trip and surfing destination is Byron Bay. It’s a coastal town located on the far north coast of New South Wales. Apart from the beaches, scuba diving sites and surfing spots, it is also home to the country’s most easterly point and the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse. An unforgettable holiday awaits you and your family in this renowned destination.

  • Watch the sunrise. Start the day right by watching the sunrise from the Byron Bay Lighthouse. Wake up early and follow the trail up to the lighthouse for the best sunrise view from Australia’s most easterly point. Satisfy not just your need for a good snap for the ‘gram but also your need for a quick workout during your holiday.
  • Visit hidden beaches. Byron Bay is a beach town and there’s always a new beach to see every day. After watching the sunrise up at the lighthouse, take the time to visit some of the other lesser known beaches in the area like Wategos Beach and Tallows Beach. There are relatively fewer people in these parts, the perfect place for a romantic picnic by the beach.
  • Catch some waves. Of course, you can’t come to Byron Bay and not surf or learn how to surf. There are plenty of places that cater to beginners, and they’ll make sure you can handle yourself around a surfboard by the time your lessons are up.

From: Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road

Your Australian road trip adventure won’t be complete if you don’t include the Great Ocean Road on your itinerary. Part of what makes it a popular destination is the fact that you can drive along and stop by the many landmarks along the way.

The Great Ocean Road is Australia’s most treasured coastal route and it is also considered the world’s largest war memorial. The soldiers that returned from World War I worked on this route from their return in 1919 to 1932, intending to connect isolated settlements along the coast.

When you drive along this road, you will not only treat yourself to a gorgeous scenery along the way. You can also learn a bit of history with each kilometer traveled as you remember the great men who helped build this road. Some of the places you should stop by are:

  • Bells Beach. A lot like Byron Bay, Bells Beach is a popular surfing destination. Travelers and surfers that are looking to catch the next big wave stop by here to hone their skills in time for the next competition. If you’re planning to stop here, don’t forget to bring your surfboard to test out the waves for yourself.
  • The Otway Vista. What’s a better way to complete your holiday than a nature trip to Australia’s best rainforest scenery? Discover hidden waterfalls, tall trees and ancient plant and lush ferns in the morning and end your day with a camping trip. If you’re up for more adventure, the secluded Cape Otway is also a place you shouldn’t miss.
  • 12 Apostles. Along your drive, you will pass by the famous 12 Apostles. The name suggests otherwise but they’re not people. It’s a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. It’s one of the must-see destinations and the best way to wrap up your Great Ocean Road trip.

Driving on a road trip is always a great idea to explore Australia. Whatever place you pick, you’ll never regret travelling to each destination by land and enjoy what each has to offer, more than enough to make your holiday an unforgettable one.

3 of the best road trips to take in Canada

Vast terrains of untouched wilderness, secluded silver lakes, glacier-tipped mountains and coastal perfection – Canada’s rugged and diverse landscapes are every road tripper’s wildest fantasy. Driving along these scenic roads allows you the opportunity to discover Canada’s hidden beauty at your own pace – to stop and soak in gorgeous scenery or ramp up the excitement with hiking or kayaking. And with so much uninhabited country to explore, you’re sure to wander countless times off the beaten track, which is exactly what fantastic journeys on the road are all about.

The sheer expanse of Canada’s natural sights is unbelievable and nearly unparalleled, and there’s no better way to see it all than on a road trip. But driving on Canada’s icy roads during their extreme winters can be challenging if not done slowly and with care. Make sure you research Canadian driving laws before you go, too, so you’re as prepared as you can be. They’re not as wacky as some country’s laws – in Cyprus, for example, it’s illegal to drink even non-alcoholic drinks when driving – but it’s still worth doing some research.

From mesmerizing snow-capped peaks in the west to glittering eastern shores, here are the finest road trips you can enjoy in picture-perfect Canada:

  1. The Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail is one of Canada’s most infamously picturesque roads. You’ll find this 300 km long highway on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The trail curves around the north of the island alongside the coastline for the most part, affording breathtaking views over the sapphire waters of the North Atlantic. The island also sports a number of excellent hiking trails such as the Skyline Trail, which promises unforgettable sights around every corner. Autumn is the best time to be here, but the road offers heavenly views of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park throughout the year. Here you’ll find plenty of walking trails where you can rub shoulders with wildlife and appreciate the clean ocean air.

holly-mandarich-UVyOfX3v0Ls-unsplash.jpg

Link to image: https://unsplash.com/photos/UVyOfX3v0Ls

  1. The Sea to Sky Highway

This road links Vancouver and Whistler and is the perfect journey for travelers looking to be inspired by the unique and dramatic views of Canada’s West Coast. You’ll find a handful of great places to stop on the way including the Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver and Shannon Falls, the third largest waterfall in British Columbia. The Britannia Mine Museum is another curious attraction close by, packed with engaging sights for the whole family. You’ll also find the Sea to Sky Gondola on the way, a truly unmissable stop offering delightful views and an amazing suspension bridge. The best months to visit are from July to September, when Vancouver’s dry season creates ideal hiking and road tripping conditions.

photo-nic-co-uk-nic-xOigCUcFdA8-unsplash.jpg

Link to image: https://unsplash.com/photos/xOigCUcFdA8

  1. Icefields Parkway

With 232 km of blissful and ravishing natural landscapes, the Icefields Parkway is a highway serenaded by magnificent woodlands, roaring waterfalls and rugged mountains on either side. This road takes you through the heart of the Rocky Mountains and affords bewitching views of both the Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. These beautiful reserves play home to the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field found on the Rocky Mountains. Here you can go on guided hikes to visit the Athabasca and Saskatchewan glaciers and learn more about the area’s unique geological composition. You can also camp out at Jasper National Park and seize the opportunity to gaze at constellations in one of the best dark sky reserves on the planet.

robson-hatsukami-morgan-aCWbZNTkDtw-unsplash.jpg

Link to image: https://unsplash.com/photos/aCWbZNTkDtw

 

5 of the most beautiful national parks around the world

pexels-photo-210243

Source

If you want to see some of the most beautiful natural sights in the world, then you’re going to want to head to national parks. Pretty much every country in the world has its own national park, which is an area that has been protected by the state for people to enjoy – and to preserve wildlife in some cases. Want to know where the best national parks are in the world? Here are just five of them.

Joshua Tree National Park

Over Thanksgiving weekend this year, my children and I went to Palm Springs in California, where we got to visit the stunning Joshua Tree National Park. There are so many things to see and do in this national park that we stayed from 10.30am until 3.30pm – although we could have stayed a lot longer! Grab a map and make your way to all of the best spots in the park, including Ocotillo Patch, Cholla Cactus Garden, and the Jumbo Rock Campground. Oh, not forgetting Skull Rock, of course! There really is so much to see here; I’d recommend staying all day if you have the energy.

Serengeti National Park

If you want to see some of the most jaw-dropping wildlife on the planet, you simply have to head to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. One of the must-sees here is the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebra make their way across the plains to seek new pastures. You can go on a safari trip much more affordably now than in the past, then finish off with a trip to some of the gorgeous beaches of Zanzibar in Tanzania.

blue-sky-canyon-cliff-545964

Source

Yellowstone National Park

Often considered one of the best national parks in America, Yellowstone is a sight to behold. As the first national park in the U.S. (established back in 1872), this is the place to come if you want some history with your nature. Make sure you head to the Old Faithful Geyser and also keep an eye out for the local wildlife. Many people report to see antelope, bison, bears, elk, and wolves here.

Khao Sok National Park

If you ever find yourself in Thailand, it is definitely worth checking out Khao Sok National Park in the southern part of the country. The dense jungle is unlike any of the other national parks on this list, and it’s also home to the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia. If you’re really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a majestic tiger or two while you’re here as well. One top tip if you’re visiting Thailand is that insurance is a legal requirement, so make sure you’re covered before you head off.

Fiordland National Park

Located in the southwest of South Island in New Zealand, Fiordland National Park is a true beauty. Head to the glacier-carved fiords of Doubtful and Milford sounds, look up at the stunning Mitre Peak, and see the reflections of the Earl Mountains in the Mirror Lakes. There are plenty of walks and activities here that could keep you busy for days.

It was hard to pick just five beautiful national parks around the world, but I think this is a good selection. What do you think? Do you have any others to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Joshua Tree National Park

My kids and I were in Palm Springs, California over the Thanksgiving weekend. And one of the highlights of this trip was visiting the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed in the city of Indio in Coachella Valley and It was about little more than half an hour drive to the Southern Entrance/Cottonwood Entrance of JTNP from our hotel.

Beautiful landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, California

Beautiful landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ticket per vehicle is $30 which can be used for the next 7 days. You can spend from half a day to few days or weeks in this park. We bought few water bottles, some protein bars, luncheables, chips, and candies before entering the park. We arrived the Southern Visitor Center around 10:30am and stayed until about 3:30. If you have time and energy, staying longer is highly recommended to enjoy dramatic sunsets or to camp or if you love star gazing…to experience a stunning desert sky from the park. JTNP is a paradise for the hikers, rock-climbers, photographers, nature-lovers, kids, adults, and many more.

If you follow the JTNP map, it’ll take you to all the spots and parts of the park that you want to visit. We made it to most of the places that we planned to visit. These are some of the really cool and beautiful places of JTNP that we loved and the kids enjoyed:

Ocatillo Patch: Ocatillo is not a true cactus but a beautiful plant indigenous to Sonoran and couple other desert in the USA. JTNP has an area, called Ocatillo Patch, (follow the sign). It’s a nice place to take some pictures, walk around, and explore the nature.

Ocatillo Patch in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ocatillo Patch in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Cholla Cactus Garden: This was one of our favorites. A whole big area on the both sides of the road is covered with cholla cactus, a beautiful looking but very thorny cactus. Be careful with kids here. We ended up spending more than half an hour strolling thru the cacti, taking pictures, and having fun looking at these plants in the desert. We even saw couple small lizards here.

Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Jumbo Rock Campground: This was our number one in the park. Jumbo Rock campground and the surroundings are the places with really huge boulders. My kids couldn’t get enough of rock climbing and the stunning view of everything…the trees, big rocks, mountains, blue sky, everything was part of a big piece of this beauty. It’s a big playground for any age. We stopped at different sections of Jumbo rocks and still couldn’t see all of it.

Jumbo Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Jumbo Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Camping in JTNP is a very popular activity and we saw bunch of tents and RVs parked in Jumbo Rock Campground. I can imagine the beautiful night sky from here. Tourists can spend days among these boulders for rock climbing, photography, or just hiking.

Skull Rock: Skull rock is another jumbo rock which has the shape of a human skull. We didn’t spend much time here other than just taking some photos. But there are other big rocks that can be climbed and trails that can be hiked.

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Keys View: Keys View is another must. Even if you don’t visit other spots in JTNP, Keys View deserves some attention. This is a view point from where you can see the mountains and Salton sea. Although we didn’t stay too long since it was getting a bit cold, sunset from this spot is very famous…just bring some extra clothes.

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Once we were done, we left the park thru “Joshua Tree” visitor center, which is about 20 miles from Keys View. JTNP doesn’t have any running water, restaurants, café or snack bars or vending machines inside the park. It’s better to bring lots of water bottles, sandwiches or bars, extra clothes, or even maybe first aid kits (just in case you are that unfortunate or clumsy tourist who may have a bad luck with the cacti there).

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,767 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 638,743 hits
%d bloggers like this: